We’ve reached a huge milestone since our last Ecologi update: over 100,000 trees funded, and that’s all thanks to our Natusan customers and cats!
The team at Ecologi have been busy, too. They recently announced new projects to help support and improve biodiversity in the UK, and we’re taking a closer look at what they’ll be doing - and why it’s so important.
Biodiversity in the UK
While our countryside here in the UK may look beautiful, we’re actually among the most naturally depleted countries on earth - ranking in the bottom 12% of countries when measuring the intactness of biodiversity. In fact, within Europe, only two countries have lost more biodiversity than the UK: Ireland and Malta.
In just one example of how much of our biodiversity has disappeared, 97% of the UK’s wildflower meadows have been lost since the 1930s, putting our native flower species at risk - as well as the other creatures that rely on them to survive.
What is biodiversity?
Biodiversity or biological diversity is the variety of living things, such as plant and animal life, in a particular habitat. It can be measured on a global, national, and local scale.
Why is biodiversity important?
Aside from the obvious - protecting species from becoming endangered or extinct - biodiversity is important because native species have adapted to work in harmony with one another.
Many species are reliant upon other local native species for their survival, so if one starts to disappear, it can have knock-on effects for other life in that area - making it vital to protect and retain as much original flora and fauna as possible.
How does the UK compare to other countries?
In 2019 it was estimated that the UK had retained just 50% of its biodiversity, a huge loss of plant and animal life. To put it into perspective, the same study estimated that Canada still had 89% of its biodiversity, while our neighbour France held onto 65% and Germany had 67%.
Does the situation vary within the UK?
It’s perhaps no surprise that Scotland, with its beautiful wild landscapes, still had the highest percentage of its biodiversity, at 56%. At the opposite end, however, was England, with just 47%. Wales and Northern Ireland have 51% and 50% respectively.
With this in mind, Ecologi will fund projects to restore and conserve four key habitats:
- Wildflower meadows
By working with these different types of habitats, they aim to create a “mosaic” of habitats able to support high biodiversity levels. Let’s take a look at some of the projects…
Ecologi plans two types of wildflower projects: wildflower meadow creation, and wildflower habitat restoration. The wildflower seed mix has been sourced in Scotland, consisting of grass species and native wildflowers chosen to survive the soil conditions.
In a healthy wildflower meadow you’d hope to find 15-30 different plant species per square metre. Currently, the grasslands have less than 5 species per square metre, so the project hopes to boost the biodiversity in these areas - and, in turn, attract more insects and birds! And it’s not Ecologi’s first wildflower project in the UK - we’ve previously talked about their work creating wildflower meadows in Scotland.
Ecologi will carry out large-scale peatland restoration on areas of peatland that had been drained or afforested, and they’ll create ponds to provide habitats for a range of amphibians, birds, mammals and insects. By removing invasive, non-native tree and shrub species in some areas, they hope to encourage the return and recovery of native species like cranberry and bog-building mosses.
Did you know that Scotland has a rainforest? It’s one of our most precious habitats, and is even rarer than the tropical rainforests! Scotland’s rainforest is sometimes known as the Atlantic woodland, or Celtic rainforest, and it’s a type of coastal temperate rainforest - which is especially rare.
The surviving areas of rainforest are fragmented, and at risk from non-native plant species like conifer and Rhododendron. Protecting these ancient woodlands makes up another part of Ecologi’s projects, as well as removing the invasive Rhododendron that threaten the native tree species such as oak, birch, ash and hazel. (And if you want to learn more about the importance of native species in Scotland, you can read about another Ecologi-sponsored project, the living forest.)
The benefits of the projects
As well as helping to improve the all-important biodiversity, these projects will also help to keep carbon stores locked away and improve the landscape’s ability to absorb carbon from the atmosphere. All four habitats have numerous benefits to the environment, from preventing soil degradation to supporting vulnerable species, and you can find out more about the projects here on Ecologi's website.
With every Natusan purchase, you and other cat parents continue to fund the planting of trees worldwide and help to support climate-positive projects just like these! That’s pretty im-purr-essive if you ask us.
21/09/2023 by NatuTeam